Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  


Don't forget... With the upgrades you can change the theme in your profile.
The "Original" theme is available again. Choose "Old SurvivalistsSite Theme (2.0) for the "Original" theme.

Helping you prepare since 2005!

One of the oldest survival / emergency preparedness / prepping sites on the web.

The links above will open in a new window.

Would you like to advertise on For more information email

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: Canning Fish in Quart Jars  (Read 5943 times)


  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1066
    • View Profile
    • My Community Page:
Canning Fish in Quart Jars
« on: December 10, 2008, 08:30:16 PM »

Canning Fish
in Quart Jars
In the field
When you catch fish, handle the fish with care to
avoid bruising and exposure to sun or heat. Bleed
the fish immediately after catching to help increase
storage life. Remove viscera (internal organs).
Rinse fish and keep iced, refrigerated or frozen.
Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service
office for current canning information.
A video titled Canning The Catch is available for
checkout at most district Extension offices and the
Extension Communications office located on the
University of Alaska Fairbanks campus in Fairbanks.
Preparing the fish
If the fish is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator
before canning. Rinse the fish in cold water. You
can add vinegar to the water (2 tablespoons per
quart) to help remove slime.
For most fish, remove the head, tail, fins and
scales. It is not necessary to remove the skin. You
can leave bones in most fish because the bones
become very soft and are a
good source of calcium. For
halibut, remove the head,
tail, fins, skin and the bones.
Refrigerate all fish until you
are ready to pack in jars.
Please read this entire publication before you begin to can
your fish. Also, note the directions under the “Processing”
section that are different for quart-sized jars.
Be certain that you have all the equipment needed
to produce a safe, good tasting canned product.
A pressure canner is required for processing fish.
The high temperatures reached under pressure
are necessary to ensure a safe product.
Re-read and follow directions for your canner. If
you no longer have an instruction manual, write
the manufacturer for a new copy.
Your pressure canner must be in good condition.
Replace the gasket and safety plug if necessary.
Be certain the vent or petcock is clean and open.
If you have a dial pressure gauge, have it checked
for accuracy before the canning season begins.
Dial pressure gauges may be checked at your local
Cooperative Extension Service office.
For pressure processing fish, the 1-quart straightsided
mason type jar is recommended. The researched
times for canning fish in quart-size jars
are new, so read the directions carefully with special
attention to the section titled “Processing.”
It is a good idea to complete a trial
run with your canner. Use 2 - 3 inches
(about 3 quarts) of water in the canner.
Put the canner through a short canning
cycle, according to the manufacturer’s
instructions, to be certain you are familiar
with the sound of the weighted gauge or
with reading the dial gauge.
Jars should be washed in hot soapy water and
rinsed before you use them. Check the rims of
jars and discard any that have nicks or cracks.
Use two-piece, self-sealing lids.
Prepare the jar lids and rings according to the lid
manufacturer’s directions. Lids should be purchased
new each year. Rings are reusable if they
are not bent or rusty.
An acrylic or hard wood cutting board is recommended
to cut down on bacterial contamination.
Knives should be sharp. Cutting boards and
knives should be washed regularly in warm,
soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.
Cut the fish into jar-length filets or chunks of
any size.
If the skin has been left on the fish, pack the fish
skin out for a nicer appearance — or skin in for
easier jar cleaning.
Pack solidly into clean 1-quart jars leaving 1-inch
headspace (the unfilled space between the jar
sealing edge and the top of the food or its liquid).
If desired, run a plastic knife around the inside of
the jar to align the product; this allows firm packing
of fish.
For most fish, no liquid, salt or spices need to be
added, although seasonings or salt may be added
for flavor (1 - 2 teaspoons salt per quart, or
amount desired).
For halibut, add up to 4 tablespoons of vegetable
or olive oil per quart jar if you wish. The canned
product will seem moister. However, the oil will
increase the caloric value of the fish.
Carefully clean the jar sealing edge with a damp
paper towel; wipe with a dry paper towel to remove
any fish oil.
Attach jar lids and rings. Follow the manufacturer’s
guidelines for tightening the jar lids properly.
If the rings are too loose, liquid may escape from
the jars during processing, and seals may fail.
If the rings are too tight, air cannot vent during
processing, and food will discolor during storage.
Over-tightening may also cause lids to buckle
and jars to break.
Add at least 3 quarts of water to the pressure canner
so that there is 2 - 3 inches of water covering the
bottom. Put the rack in the bottom of canner. Place
closed jars on the rack according to the instructions
provided with your pressure canner. Fasten the canner
cover securely, but do not close the lid vent.
for quart jars are different from pint and halfpint
jars at this point; please read this boxed
section carefully. It is critical that the following
processing directions are followed exactly:
Heat the canner on high for 20 minutes. If
steam comes through the open vent in a steady
stream at the end of 20 minutes, allow it to
escape for an additional 10 minutes. If steam
does not come through the open vent in a
steady stream at the end of 20 minutes, keep
heating the canner until it does. Then allow the
steam to escape for an additional 10 minutes
to vent the canner. This step removes air from
inside the canner so the temperature is the
same throughout the canner. The total time it
takes to heat and vent the canner should never
be less than 30 minutes. The total time may
be more than 30 minutes if you have tightly
packed jars, cold fish or larger sized canners.
Close the vent (use a hot pad or mitt) by shutting
the petcock or by placing the weighted gauge on
the vent. There are three positions or sections on
a weighted gauge, depending on the canner manufacturer.
For most pressure canning, the weighted
gauge should be adjusted for 10 pounds of pressure.
Turn the heat on high. When the pressure reads
11 pounds per square inch (psi) on the dial gauge
or the 10-pound weighted gauge begins to jiggle
or rock, adjust the heat to maintain a steady pressure
and begin timing the process.
Write down the time at the beginning of the process and the time when the process will be finished.
Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner (10 pounds of pressure)
Quart Jars: 160 minutes (2 hours and 40 minutes)
(At altitudes above 1,000 feet, use 15 pounds of pressure)
Dial Gauge Pressure Canner (11 pounds of pressure)
Quart Jars: 160 minutes (2 hours and 40 minutes)
(At altitudes of 2,001 - 4,000 feet, use 12 pounds of pressure; at 4,001 - 6,000 feet, use 13 pounds
of pressure; and at 6,001 - 8,000 feet, use 14 pounds of pressure)
For safety’s sake, you must have a complete,
uninterrupted 160 minutes (2 hours and 40
minutes) at a minimum pressure of 11 pounds
pressure for a dial gauge or 10 pounds pressure
for a weighted gauge.
If the pressure drops below 10 or 11 pounds
of pressure, the timing must begin again from
zero minutes. If the pressure rises above 10 or 11
pounds of pressure, lower the heat on the stove
but do not begin timing again.
At the end of the processing time, slide the canner
away from the heat so it can cool.
Let the pressure drop to zero pounds of pressure
naturally; weighted gauge canners usually have a
lid lock that drops when zero pounds of pressure
are reached.
Wait one more minute, then using a hot pad or
mitt, slowly open the vent on dial gauge canners
or remove the weighted gauge.
Open the canner and tilt the lid far-side-up so the
steam escapes away from you.
Carefully remove jars with a jar lifter or tongs and
place on a cloth or newspaper covered table away
The sealing compound is hot and soft and the jar
lids are still sealing. Most two-piece lids will seal
with a “pop” sound while cooling.
After 12 hours, the jar lids should be sealed (lids
curve downward in the middle and do not move
when pressed with a finger). Lid rings are not
needed on stored jars; you may remove them.
Wash and store for later use.
If a jar did not seal (lid bulges or does not curve
downward in the center and moves when pressed
with a finger), remove the lid and check the jar sealing
edge for tiny nicks. If needed, change the jar,
add a new, properly prepared lid, and reprocess
within 24 hours using the same processing time.
Food in unsealed jars may also be stored in the
freezer. Adjust headspace to allow for expansion
of frozen food.
Wash the jars, label with contents and processing
date. Store jars in a cool, dry storage area.
Note: Glass-like crystals of magnesium
ammonium phosphate (common name
struvite) sometimes form in canned salmon.
There is no way for the home canner to
prevent these crystals from forming, but
they usually dissolve when heated and are
safe to eat.
• Do you know if the dial gauge on your canner is reading accurately?
• Do you know when the rocking or jiggling weight is signaling properly?
• Did you follow the USDA Cooperative Extension recommendations for pressure processing this food?
• Was this preserved food a gift? If it was, do you know if the USDA Cooperative Extension
Service recommendations for pressure processing this food were followed?
Due to the risk of botulism, it is extremely important that you answer “yes” to all of these
questions and that the fish was pressure canned according to the recommendations in this
publication. An added measure of safety is obtained if you heat home-canned fish according to
the following directions:
1. Open the jar of fish. Check the contents. If fish smells bad or if you see gas bubbles, THROW
CONTENTS AWAY! Do not taste!*
2. If fish smells and looks good, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the fish. Cover the jar
loosely with foil.
3. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place jar in a glass baking dish to catch any spills and to keep the jar even
on the rack.
4. Remove jar from the oven when the meat thermometer registers 185° F. This heating takes about
30 minutes.
5. Allow the jar to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes, to let the heat distribute evenly.
6. Serve the fish hot or chill for later use.
Research on food preservation is an ongoing process. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Cooperative
Extension Service continuously apply new research findings to their recommendations for food preservation
techniques. The guidelines in this publication may be revised at any time additional knowledge is gained that
may increase the margin of safety or improve the quality of home preserved products. Please consult your local
Cooperative Extension Service annually for updated information.
About this publication: Original research for quart jar processing times was carried out by Kristy Long, Ph.D., Foods and Home
Economics Specialist for the Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Chuck Crapo, Ph.D., Seafood
Quality Specialist for the Fisheries Industrial Technology Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Revised, with the addition of quart jar processing times, in May 2004 by Kristy Long, Ph.D., Foods and Home Economics
Specialist, Cooperative Extension Service-UAF. This publication was peer reviewed by Cooperative Extension Service
faculty: Sheryl Stanek, Linda Tannehill, Roxie Dinstel, Lucy Bayles, Marci Johnson and Bret Luick. A special thanks to Rieta
Walker of Homer, Alaska, for her at-home testing of the directions and the come-up times.
Externally reviewed by Val Hillers, Ph.D., R.D., Extension Foods Specialist, Washington State University.
5-04/KL/1000 Reprinted September2008
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service programs are available to all, without regard to race, color, age, sex, creed,
national origin, or disability and in accordance with all applicable federal laws. Provided in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, acts
of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peter Pinney, Interim Director, Cooperative Extension
Service, University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.
© 2007 University of Alaska Fairbanks This publication may be photocopied or reprinted in its entirety for noncommercial purposes.
Visit the Cooperative Extension Service website at
* Before you throw it away, detoxify the food, so eating spoiled foods will poison neither humans nor pets. To
detoxify, carefully remove the lid from the jar. Place the jar of food and the lids in a saucepan. Do not remove
food from the jar. Add enough water to cover the jars. Boil for 30 minutes and then cool. Drain water and
dispose of food and lid. The jar may be reused.
For more information contact: Kristy Long, Extension Foods Specialist at or 907-474-7974.


  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1066
    • View Profile
    • My Community Page:
Re: Canning Fish in Quart Jars
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2010, 12:33:25 PM »

I tried this but couldn't test the fish (since I developed my lovely fish/seafood allergy).  It looked the same after a year as it did the day I canned it, but couldn't open the jar.


  • Blogger
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 689
  • Blueduck
    • View Profile
    • Central Idaho Martial Arts Center
Re: Canning Fish in Quart Jars
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2010, 05:44:08 PM »

A few years ago, Countryside magazine had an article on canning trash fish like suckers, and you could eat the bones and all, I never tried it, but it sounded like a decent project.....

We have enough salmon and steelhead running up the river to make fishing worthwhile, but i still dont do much of that, cause it takes so long to get a lawful fish and the FaG officers are running up and down the road looking for a reason to "tag" anyone not complying with the rule book.

We could have such a good run if they would only "not tag" the fish so the big Japanese trawlers could find the schools.... but i guess i dont set the way things are, and maybe it is all just war reparations in disguise!

nice article btw!
Blueduck is an endangered specie...... a native born Idahoan

Central Idaho


  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1066
    • View Profile
    • My Community Page:
Re: Canning Fish in Quart Jars
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2010, 06:44:53 AM »

I never did fish for salmon.  I was a catfish/striped bass fisher-woman.  I just can't get myself to get rid of all of our fishing gear (I can't even be near fish). 

Canuck In Denver

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3781
    • View Profile
    • My Community Page
Re: Canning Fish in Quart Jars
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 07:57:47 PM »

You may not be able to be near it but the rest of your family still can. Even if you can't eat fish it could mean that you get the non-fish and the rest of the family gets the fish. Or it can be traded with someone else. Plus fishing gear can be used to catch birds, make tangle foot traps, etc. Not to mention simply trading if for something else you need
My Blog:
My Community Page:
My Emergency Preparedness and Survival Basics Guide (ebook):

 Want a FREE Blog or Community Page? Contact me by PM or email. 
Pages: [1]   Go Up